Simple:Press Forum Advertising

bbPress Update

I no longer support or recommend Simple:Press. If you want a forum for your hosted WordPress website, please ask for advice in Shrewdies Website Support Forum.

I mentioned AdSense in passing when I wrote about extending Simple:Press forum by adding code to the descriptions.

Hundreds of you have asked for more information about adding advertising to your forums, or more specifically about adding AdSense to Simple:Press.

I’d like to say “don’t bother!” but I think you deserve more than that.

Why “don’t bother?” Because forums are notoriously hard to monetize, though there are a couple of ways to get reasonable results.

Before I explain those, I’d like to look at some of the ways to add AdSense to Simple:Press forums. I mention AdSense, but of course any advertising scheme can be added in the same way.

Easy Ways To Add AdSense To Simple:Press

❶ Sidebar
It is usually better to disable sidebars on pages, so this option is a poor one. Also Sidebar click-thru rates are usually pretty poor, but this is an easy option – just paste your code into a text widget.
❷ Footer
Edit footer.php in your theme, or add one of the many plugins that let you drop code into your footer.
❸ Other Theme Files
You could edit the page template, or other files, but I cannot see the point.
❹ Forum Page
Simple:Press creates a blank page, usually called forum, though you should normally change this to your-site-topic-forum. You should enter some introductory text on this page, and it is also the best place to easily add AdSense code. If you wrap your text in <div id="sforum"><div class="sfloginstrip"> Your text & AdSense code <div><div>, the text will pick up your Simple:Press skin styling. You can also use div to wrap position styling round your AdSense code. If you do this, be sure to test thoroughly on forum lists, forum details, etc to make sure it is positioned OK on every type of forum page.

Harder Ways To Add AdSense To Simple:Press

№𝟙 Enzyme Descriptions
As previously mentioned.
№𝟚 Edit Simple:Press Files
This gives you the most flexibility, but be careful to thoroughly document your amendments, as you will have to reapply them if you upgrade. Also, change the description in sf-control.php to add a link to your documentation, as a reminder on the plugins admin page.

There are lots of options for placing your adverts. Simple:Press has many files, so finding the exact point can occasionally be difficult. However the Simple:Press support forum is second to none, so if you need to know exactly which file to edit for a particular location, ask in their forum. To start you off, I have placed advertising easily just above the statistics block. Simply edit forum/sf-pagecomponents.php, and search for function sf_render_stats(). Paste your code immediately after the { and your advert will appear above the statistics. As the statistics block outputs an HTML table, you have many other options for exactly where you position your code.

Getting AdSense Revenue From Simple:Press

As I said at the beginning, forums are notoriously difficult to monetize, but there are some things you can do to get a little reward for your efforts. It goes without saying, that unless you are super-responsive in your forum, you will struggle to get traffic. Traffic building using the forum needs to be a separate topic, but one solid tip is to answer every question as best you can, then ask a follow-up question to encourage further debate.

Some worthwhile ways to monetize that traffic are:-

⑴ Don’t Bother
Oh No, not that one again! I actually mean: don’t focus on earning directly in your forum, focus on reference and summary pages outside your forum, or blog posts, that show high eCPM. Look at the AdSense earnings in your Google Analytics summary, and sort it in descending eCPM order (hint: add it to your Dashboard now, then you can see the highest performing pages easily). In the forum, ensure that your answers direct readers to your top performers. Their are refinements to identifying the best targets, and I’ll cover this another time.

You can take this a stage further, by using the techniques I listed for adding AdSense code, to add your own adverts for your top performing pages.

⑵ Use Adsense For Feeds
This needs a full article in it’s own right. Encourage me to do one by commenting below – but try to be creative, not just “I want it”. If you can’t wait, just put your “all forums” feed through FeedBurner, then market your monetized feed. It’s never a great earner, but it’s easy, and worth the minimal effort.
⑶ Use AdSense For Search
Again, this merits its own complete article. Basically, you switch off the Simple:Press search in the options, and setup a custom search engine for your site(s). Using the techniques listed above for adding code to your forum, add your own monetized search forms, being careful not to exceed the AdSense maximum. Then promote your search engine – in my experience a very good earner! 😛

Shrewdies Website Reorganization

Keith Taylor no longer maintains this website. Please see Shrewdies Online Business Support for new advice and guidelines.

Leave Simple:Press Forum Advertising to read about adding AdSense to Simple:Press.

8 thoughts on “Simple:Press Forum Advertising

  1. Nora

    Simple:Press creates a blank page, usually called forum, though you
    should normally change this to your-site-topic-forum. You should enter
    some introductory text on this page,Ok, how do i do this? I have noticed that there is a page called “forum” that was automatically generated after i installed the forum. But now I’m confused because I created a page already called forum but it was bumped to “forum-2” How do i link this mess up? I just want my “FORUM” page i created to lonk to what simple press created. I cant find the answer anywhere on the net. Can you help me?Thankyou so muchNora

    1. Keith from shrewdies

      Hi Nora,There are 2 parts to this – the page that will be used as the forum, and the setting in Simple:Press that tells it which page to display it’s forum on.I notice that your forum page is now forum-4. You can leave this as is, or change it to something slightly more relevant, like chocolate-forum. This is changed in the WordPress Page Editor near the top where it says Permalink (Note below). At the same time, it is a good idea to switch off Comments and Trackbacks in the discussions settings for the page. The Introductory text is typed into the normal text area. The forum will display after this text when you change the forum settings…Go to Forum – Options – Global Settings and change the Forum Page Slug to whatever you set it to above (forum-4, chocolate-forum or something else). The forum will automatically appear when you refresh the forum page.Note: Sometimes WordPress does not let you change the Permalink (also called slug). This is usually because you have a page of the same name in Trash. Simply empty Trash from the Pages admin screen, and try again.

    1. Keith from shrewdies

      I’ve heard it mentioned many times. I’ve never heard anyone say they have success, but every case is diefferent.Where I do think you can have success is including links to monetization pages in your replies. Even affiliate links could work, but AdSense clickthrough rates are very low in my experience.The best thing to do is to try it, but there is no point in opening a forum just to earn money. You have to spend a lot of time building up regular traffic before you even think of monetizing it.Thanks for the heads-up on comments. I actually wrote an article on the importance of comment subscription, but somehow the plugin got deactivated. Note that I use the Gurken Subscribe to Comments from Martin Spuetz.

    1. Keith from shrewdies

      No, I do not use WP-Spam Free as I found it did not work well for me (I can’t remember the details why). I use Akismet. I don’t have Opera to test it, however my logs tell me that I do get a regular stream of Opera users.A more likely explanation is that the proxy service you are using has been used by spammers. I have zero tolerance of spam, so I just block the IP. I know this is harsh if it affects innocents, but I have not come up with a better solution yet.

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